Podcast describes efforts to ‘decolonize the screen’

Unequal Representation,” a new episode of the “What Makes Us Human” podcast series, examines how Indigenous stories are misrepresented by the media. The podcast’s fifth season -- "What Do We Know about Inequality?" -- showcases the newest thinking across academic disciplines about inequality.

“There are so many untold stories, so many missed opportunities to describe the richness of Native peoples across the Americas,” says Kiowa filmmaker Jeffrey Palmer, assistant professor of performing and media arts in his podcast episode. “The public is not hearing the stories that show a culture that is present and ever-changing... Instead, media has become a colonized space for us, where we are allowed to have a story told only if it meets the stereotypical parameters.”

Palmer recently completed his first feature film, “N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will air on the PBS series American Masters in 2019. A free screening of the film will be part of the Arts Unplugged event at Cornell on Oct. 17.

In addition to Sundance, Palmer’s short films have screened at Hot Docs, The Seattle International Film Festival, and elsewhere around the world. His expertise includes film and video production; Native American studies, including Native American exploitation in early cinema; and cultural anthropology.

The “What Makes Us Human?” podcast is produced by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Cornell Broadcast Studios and features audio essays written and recorded by Cornell faculty. New episodes are released each Thursday through the spring semester, airing on WHCU and WVBR. The episodes are also available for download on iTunes and SoundCloud and for streaming on the A&S humanities page, where text versions of the essays are also posted.

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 Film poster of a man and a bear facing forward side by side